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or Curled-leaved Ash-leaved Negundo. It is of the male sex; the inflorescence consists of pendulous panicles of flowers, that are green, with some redness from the colour of the anthers; and each is placed upon a slender peduncle of about an inch in length.
Geography and History. The Negundo fraxinifolium is a native of the United States, and of Canada. According to Dr. Hooker, it is abundant about Red River, in latitude fifty-four degrees, in the latter country, which may be considered as its most northern limit. It is seldom found growing wild in the northern parts of the union, or in the maritime districts of the southern states. It commences on the banks of the Delaware, in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, and becomes more abundant towards the Alleghany Mountains, at the west of which, it is still more multiplied.
This species was first introduced into England in 1688, by Bishop Compton, at Fulham; and since that time it has been cultivated throughout Europe. The original tree, planted at Fulham, is believed still to be in existence. In 1793, it measured six feet and four inches in circumference three feet from the ground, and was computed to be forty-five feet in height. In 1809, it measured seven feet one and a half inches in girt; and in 1835, the dimensions had scarcely varied. The largest tree of this species recorded in England, is at Kenwood, which had attained the height of forty-five feet in thirty-five years after planting.
The negundo was introduced into France by Admiral Gallisonière, in the time of Du Hamel. According to Baudrillart, the administration of forests at Paris, received a quantity of seeds from the neighbourhood of Lyons, from which a number of young plants were raised, and distributed through the national forests. Hence it appears that they had both the male and female trees in France, at that period.
Michaux informs us that a row of these trees was planted in the Jardin des Plantes, in the Rue de Buffon, which gave an excellent idea of their appearance in their native forests. The largest of these trees which remained in 1835, estimated at upwards of sixty years of age, was fifty-one feet in height, with a head fifty-four feet in diameter.
At Brück, on the Leytha, in Austria, there is a tree of this species, which attained the height of eighty feet in forty-eight years after planting, with an ambitus, or spread of branches of forty-eight feet.
In the Bartram botanic garden, on the west bank of the Schuylkill, there is a tree of this species, fifty feet in height, with a trunk four feet in circumference. And there is another fine specimen growing in Washington square, in Philadelphia, which has been planted about thirty years.
Soil, Situation, &c. In the bottoms which skirt the rivers in its native country, where the soil is deep, fertile, constantly moist, and often inundated, the Negundo fraxinifolium is most abundant, and attains its largest size. Even here, however, it seldom exceeds fifty feet in height, with a trunk twenty inches in diameter; and "trees of these dimensions," Michaux observes, "are found only in Tennessee, and in the back parts of Georgia, which lie far to the south." At the west of the Alleghanies, instead of being confined to the river sides, as in Virginia and the Carolinas, it grows in the woods, with the locust, (Robinia,) wild cherry, (Cerasus virginiana,) and the coffee-tree (Gymnocladus.) But in such situations, it does not attain so ample dimensions as in Tennessee and Georgia. When cultivated, the soil and situation of this tree may be the same as those of the Acer eriocarpum. When raised from seeds, they should always be sown, if possible, as soon as practicable after gathering, on account of the difficulty of keeping them until spring. The plants grow with amazing rapidity when the soil is deep, and somewhat moist; but as it is not a long-lived tree, it should not be placed in situations where the permanent effect of wood is of
importance. It arrives at maturity in fifteen or twenty years, and has been known to attain a height of forty or fifty feet, when cultivated under favourable circumstances.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the Negundo fraxinifolium has a fine, even grain, and is saffron-coloured, slightly mixed with violet, but is rather tender. The proportion of the alburnum to the heart-wood is large, except in very old trees, in which the heart-wood is variegated with bluish and rose-coloured veins. In America, it is seldom employed for any other purpose than that of fuel; but in Europe, it is used in cabinet-making, particularly for inlaying. It works well, is elastic and sonorous. It has been stated that sugar has been extracted from the sap of this tree, but this is denied by Michaux. He suggests that, from its rapid growth, after being cut down to the ground, it might form a valuable underwood, to be cut every three or four years, for fuel, charcoal, and other purposes. But this has been tried in France; and, unless the soil be kept constantly humid, the stool is found to decay in a few years. In England, it is solely to be considered as an ornamental tree; and there, as well as in the United States, it merits the attention of cultivators and amateurs, in situations where immediate effect is the object; for it is rapid in its growth, showy in its appearance, by the fine green of its shoots, its large, pinnate leaves, which move by the slightest breeze, and its wide-spreading summit. It also merits attention from its faculty of growing in almost any kind of soil.
Derivations. The word Esculus, derived from the Latin, esca, nourishment, was applied by Pliny to a species of oak which had an edible acorn. The name Hippocastanum, derived from the Greek, hippos, a horse, and castanon, a chesnut, is supposed to have been given to this tree, because, in Turkey, the nuts were used for curing horses of pulmonary diseases. The name, Pavia, is so called, in honour of Peter Paw, a Dutch botanist.
Distinctive Character. Calyx campanulate, 5-lobed. Ovary roundish, trigonal. Seeds large and globose; albumen wanting. Embryo curved, inverted, with fleshy, thick, gibbous cotyledons, not produced above ground in germination. Plumule large, 2-leaved.—Loudon, Arboretum.
Y most modern botanists, the order Esculaceæ, is supposed to embrace two separate genera, Esculus and Pavia, distinguished from each other chiefly by the former having echinated capsules, and the latter by having them smooth; and also of the comparative roughness of their leaves. To us it appears doubtful, whether these circumstances are a sufficient generic distinction, since they vary much in different individuals, and since, in some of the kinds, which have apparently been produced between Esculus and Pavia, the fruit is as smooth, or nearly as much so as in the Paviæ proper. We shall, therefore, embrace them all under four species, and regard them mostly as varieties.
All the species, except one, which is a shrub, are deciduous trees, with deeply cut leaves, and showy flowers. They are mostly natives of North America, and some of the varieties are recognized, in Brazil, northern India, and Japan. Their fruit is usually large and bitter, sternutatory, abounding in potash and starch, and containing a febrifuge called asculine. Their bark is tonic and astringent.
THE COMMON HORSE-CHESNUT.
Ippocastano, Marrone d'India, Castagna}
LINNEUS, Species Plantarum.
BRITAIN AND ANGLO-AMERICA.
Esculo, Castana de caballo,
Engravings. Selby, British Forest Trees, pp. 31, 35, et 36; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, v., pl. 48; and the figures
Specific Characters. Leaflets 7, obovately cuneated, acute, and toothed.-Loudon, Arboretum.
HE Horse-chesnut is a
times attaining a height of ninety or one hundred
time after the leaves, and are white, variegated with red and yellow; and in Britain and the northern parts of the United States, they expand in May, and the fruit ripens about the end of September or early in October.
Varieties. The following varieties are recognized under this species, and may be described as follows:
1. Æ. H. FLORE PLENO, Loudon. Double-flowered Horse-chesnut. This vari ety is recorded in nurserymen's catalogues, but it is not common.
2. Æ. H. VARIEGATA, Loudon. Variegated-leaved Horse-chesnut. The leaves of this variety are blotched with yellow, or yellowish-white; but they have a ragged and unhealthy appearance, and are by no means ornamental.
3. Æ. H. OHIOENSIS, Michaux. Ohio Horse-chesnut, or Fætid Buckeye. This variety is found on the banks of rivers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and
Kentucky. It is a low tree, with a rough, blackish bark, the cellular integument of which, emits a disagreeable, fœtid odour. The ordinary stature is ten or twelve feet, but it sometimes attains a height of thirty or thirty-five feet, with a diameter of twelve or fifteen inches. The leaflets are glabrous, unequal in size, oval-acuminate, irregularly toothed, and of a fine green colour. The flowers are white, about half the size of the Esculus hippocastanum, and appear in May or June. The fruit is also about half the size, of the same colour, and is contained in fleshy, prickly capsules, and matures early in autumn.
4. Æ. H. RUBICUNDA, Loudon. Scarlet-flowered Horse-chesnut; Marronier rubicund of the French; and Scharlachrother Rosskastanienbaum of the Germans. The colour of the flowers of this variety is scarlet. The leaves are of a deeper green than those of any other kind. It is distinguished from the Esculus hippocastanum by the leaves being fuller and more uneven on the surface, and of a deeper green; and from the Esculus rubra, by its larger and rougher leaves. It is doubtful whether this tree is a native of America, or originated in British nurseries. It was first cultivated in England in 1820; and a tree at Endsleigh Cottage, in Devonshire, attained the height of thirty feet in eighteen years after planting.
5. Æ. H. GLABRA, Loudon. Smooth-leaved Horse-chesnut. This variety is a low tree, native of North America, and introduced into Britain in 1822. Its leaflets are of a pale-green, very smooth, and fall in autumn sooner than those of most other varieties. The flowers are of a greenish-yellow, and appear in June. The whole plant is comparatively glabrous, and even the fruit partakes of that quality.
6. Æ. H. PALLIDA, Loudon. Pale-flowered Horse-chesnut; Gelblicher Rosskastanienbaum of the Germans. This variety is a native of the forests of Kentucky, and was introduced into Britain in 1812. It closely resembles the preceding variety, but is somewhat more robust in its growth. Its flowers are paler, being of a whitish, or greenish-yellow, and its leaves are not quite so smooth.
7. E. H. ASPLENIIFOLIA. Fernlike-leaved Horse-chesnut.
This is a French
variety, having leaves resembling those of ferns.
8. . H. FOLIIS ARGENTEIS, Loudon. Silver-leaved Horse-chesnut, the leaves of which are blotched, or striped with white, instead of yellow.
Geography and History. The native country of the common horse-chesnut, Mr. Royle observes, "is yet unknown, though stated, in some works, to be the north of India." He says that he never met with it, though often visiting the mountains of that country, where, if anywhere, it was likely to be found, and where the Indian horse-chesnut was found in abundance.
According to M. Bon de Saint-Hilaire, the horse-chesnut passed from the mountains of Thibet to England in 1550, and thence to Vienna, by Clusius, and afterwards to Paris by Bachelier. It is also stated by Clusius, in his "Rariorum Plantarum Historia," that there was a plant of this species at Vienna, in 1588, which had been brought there twelve years before, but which had not then flowered. It has also been said that this tree was first raised in France, from seeds procured from the Levant, in the year 1615, by one Bachelier. Parkinson, in 1629, says, "Our Christian world had first a knowledge of it from Constantinople." The same author placed it in his orchard, as a fruit-tree, between the walnut and the mulberries. We afterwards find it mentioned in Johnson's edition of Gerard's "Herbal," in 1633, as then growing in Mr. Tradescant's garden, at South Lambeth. From this period till the time of Miller, it appears to have attracted great attention, and acquired a high reputation as an ornamental tree, as he represents it in 1731, as being very common in England, and extensively employed in the formation of avenues and public walks.
The largest horse-chesnut, supposed to exist in Britain, is at Nocton, in